LIVE BLOG: Magnitude 5.9 Earthquake Hits Capital Region- Felt Up East Coast [UPDATED 3:59PM EST]


3:59PM EST: The United States Geological Survey reported THAT a 5.9 magnitude earthquake in Virginia at 1:51 p.m.

Laguardia and JFK airports, which were shut down after the quake, have resumed service, MSNBC reports. The passenger rail service AMTRAK reports that it is reducing the speed of trains between Baltimore and Washington following the quake.

UPDATE 3:40PM EST: The U.S. Capitol Police reports that the Washington Monument has been damaged after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck near the nation’s capital.

There are also reports that the Washington Monument is “tilting” from ABC News affiliate WABC.

UPDATE 3:11PM EST: Most of downtown D.C. has since been evacuated, including the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon and other buildings. Pictures in the Capitol building reportedly fell from the wall and workers panicked and ran to the exits, apparently fearing a 9/11-style attack. Workers were told not to re-enter the buildings.

Marine helicopters were seen hovering above the D.C, and there were reports that the Washington Monument may be tilting.

Buildings in New York City shook briefly and the FBI building was evacuated. Control towers at John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Airport were also evacuated. Evacuations were felt as north as Canada.

UPDATE 2:59PM EST: MSNBC reports that the quake has caused flighs delays at a number of airports, including JFK; Newark, Washington National; Washington Dulles, and Philadelphia.

UPDATE 2:55PM EST: Verizon, ATT, Sprint and other wireless carriers are all experiencing technical problems. It appears that their systems are overloaded as people scramble to use their mobile devices. Verizon says they have no damage to their network, and the issue is simply an overload.

UPDATE 2:50PM EST: The earthquake had no immediate apparent effect on subways and other forms of mass transit in the Tri-State Area. The Long Island Rail Road issued a statement saying their service was unaffected and running on or close to schedule. New Jersey Transit issued no alerts.

UPDATE 2:42PM EST: Fox News reports that two nuclear reactors near the epicenter  have been taken off line.

UPDATE 2:35PM EST: The Washington Post quotes a a USGS official as saying, “We would certainly expect aftershocks.” The USGS suggests that the quake is the largest to originate in Virginia since May 31, 1897.

UPDATE 2:30PM EST: In New York, City Hall was also evacuated after a tremor was felt. The 26-story federal courthouse in lower Manhattan began swaying as hundreds of people were seen leaving the building.

UPDATE 2:27PM EST: JFK Airport has ben temporarily closed as a result of the quake.

UPDATE 2:26PM EST: The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was 3.7 miles deep and struck near Mineral, Va., a city 83 miles from Washington, D.C.

UPDATE 2:20PM EST: The tremors were felt as far away as Martha’s Vineyard, Detroit and parts of Ohio. That’s a really wide area.

UPDATE 2:14PM EST: The U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon and other buildings were evacuated. Pictures in the Capitol building reportedly fell from the walls.

UPDATE 2:03PM EST: Reuters reports a 6.2 magnitude earthquake centered near Mineral, Va., rocked the mid-Atlantic states and was felt as far north at Manhattan and as far south as North Carolina. The Associated Press reports that the Pentagon is being evacuated.

FIRST REPORT 1:55PM EST: The entire NYC are is currently shaking due to an earthquake recorded as a 6.0.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. I felt it in Flatbush. First my chair was shaking, which was weird and I couldn’t imagine why, then the window treatments were shaking–thought it was a breeze. Then the foundation of the building began to shake–and then I realized this must be an earthquake. Almost as soon as I realized that it stopped. Thankfully nothing happened here and I hope that no one else suffered any injuries or damage.
    Whew… I’m relieved!!

  2. @The Goq,

    Martha’s Vineyard is of significance because the President missed a hole on the golf course because of the earthquake. He’ll yet blame his low approval ratings and dismal economy on this occurance and mishap.

  3. I was sitting in my basement in Monsey, and literally felt my chair & the entire basement swaying back & forth with me. My wife upstairs & my neighbor who was also upstairs didn’t feel anything. I thought at first that it was a dizzy spell & I got really scared that something is terribly wrong with me. I was about to call my doctor when I read the news on Yeshiva world.

  4. We are vacationing in Niagara Falls Canada. Our room is on the 50th floor of the Hilton – the swaying of the building woke up my napping husband. We immediatly went downstairs. We spoke to the day manager who told us that her brother also felt his house shaking. They did not feel it in the lobby of the hotel.

  5. President Obama released a statement to the White House Press Corps telling the country that this was also George Bush’s fault and on his fault too.

  6. I felt it in the Bronx. More importantly, there is a nuclear power plant very close to the epicenter of the quake; its operator reports that its automatic shutdown procedures worked as they were supposed to and that diesel generators are keeping the plant safe.

  7. I felt it in Monsey, I thought someone had slammed the door too hard! I’ve been having no problems with my Verizon cell phone, but I did have some problems with my Optimum Online (although that’s fine now as well).

  8. You know what suprises me, reading all these comments not one comment expresses thanks to Hashem for causing no harm through this earth quake. This could have been deady and everyone is busy saying their buba meisos and noone is thanking Hashem for saving us. What a disgrace!

  9. #34, thats not a bracha thanking Hashem for saving us. Its a bracha that priases Him for doing wonderous things. All other comments did not even mention an iota of thanks to the Ribonei Shel Oilam. On a frum web site?

  10. BARUCH HASHEM we’re all here alive another day…to post and share our reactions with our brethren! Perhaps the message from Above is: Do teshuva now before the Elul rush. I speak for myself, of course.

    Ahavas Yisrael also means giving mussar with ahavah. 🙂

  11. #35: Baruch Ata Hashem means “Hashem, You are the source of Blessing.”

    The Chachamim knew what they were doing when they were mesakein the berachos. The berachah they were gozer on us to make for an earthquake includes thanks to HKB”H.

  12. #37, oh how you miss the point. If you were saved from fire or death, a bracha of hagomel was instituted , not Maaseh Bereishis. That brocho was instituted for the wonderous things Hashem created or did. It is incumbent upon every one to verbally thank Hashem during davening and on the blogs for sparing us from this specific would be disaster.

  13. I had just sat down in the driver’s seat of my car, when I felt my car gently rocking back and forth and I saw the hood of the car undulating. I thought I was going crazy or hallucinating. I thought maybe I’m dizzy, but, I felt fine. Then I thought maybe it’s an earthquake ha ha, like I didn’t really think so. I thought maybe something is wrong with my car, but, it wasn’t even running. When I drove away everything was fine so I thought I imagined it. When I got home I heard it on the news.


    happy now?

    btw, does anyone know if you’re still allowed to the bracha, even though it’s been 8 hours since the earthquake?

    I didn’t know what it was at the time, but I was sitting in my room and everything just started shaking. It wasn’t until my father came home from work that he told me it was an earthquake.

  15. Thank you, Hashem, for causing an earthquake and but also for not letting anyone get injured.
    Sounds like a strange thank you. If Chazal thought that we should just say a bracha, so maybe we should just say a bracha.

  16. start teshuva now & we will not need these shaking wake-up calls coming from Hashem

    DON’T WAIT UNTIL AFTER TRAGEDY STRIKES C”V we have seen enough already, BUT is anyone ready to confess to hashem & do teshuva? when in reality we all need to do teshuva

    BOTTOM LINE:we leave hashem with no choice but to do these tragic events…